Lee Daniels Thanks God for Spike Lee

Black Academy Awards Series: Precious filmmaker gets real on Django, Oscar nods and his fellow director.

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 LD: Directing Oprah was fabulous. It was wonderful. She's wonderful. She is a very enlightened human being, very caring. She wasn't what I expected; I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't that. It was a joy, an utter joy. And I'm trying to find something else with her to do.

TR: Some people felt Django Unchained shone a light on part of the African-American story.  What do you think?

LD: You know, this is a first because I've avoided this question. But I'm going to give you the real. Django Unchained -- I was deeply hurt by the movie. I was deeply offended by the movie. The movie made me angry. [Quentin Tarantino] has no right to our word; he has no right to that n-word. None. None. And thank you, Spike Lee, for speaking up and for having the balls to speak up. Thank God Spike Lee finally spoke up. I thought I was going crazy. Nobody else said anything; it was like everybody else thought it was great. No, it's not great for you to use "nigger," man! Who do you think you are?

I can't talk about it because it's very upsetting. And I'm expressing my opinion just like everybody expresses their opinion about my films one way or the other ... There were great performances in the film. But I think African Americans, because we're so hungry to see ourselves on the big screen, we'll see anything.

TR: Do you think black people are a little too sensitive when it comes to in the n-word?

LD: No, I think we have to be sensitive about it. Anyone who's seen my movie The Paperboy knows exactly what I'm talking about. I make a big deal about the usage of the word. That word is a nasty word. It's a vile word. I think that we own the word. Period.

I can't judge from a white man's perspective if he's using the n-word. He made that word up in a negative way, so if he's using it, then it's negative to me. He has no right to it. I think that we own the word and we can do with it as we will ... Does a woman like being called "bitch" a certain way? ... Do Jews like being called their derogatory word? There's always that word that will send a certain person that it is said of into rage. It should. Do I like being called "fag"? No, no! I'm sorry; you don't own that -- I do.

LD: I don't think he's a hater. I love me some Spike. Spike Lee is the reason why I'm here now. I love me some Spike Lee! I wouldn't be doing this if I wasn't inspired by him. He inspires me every day; he inspires my work with what he did to African-American cinema. He's incredible. It's almost a joke that people don't recognize that. It makes my blood boil that people don't recognize what he has brought to our cinema.

TR: Louis Gossett Jr. said to The Root that he'd like to see filmmakers like you or Spike Lee do a movie on real-life Djangos or cowboys like a Nat Love or Bass Reeves. Is that an option for you?